How High is the Tourmalet?

The Col du Tourmalet is one of the legendary climbs of the Pyrenees. With tough ascensions on both the east and west, it is a regular feature of the Tour de France. Indeed the Tour has tackled this pass more times than any other in France. So you’d hope the altitude of the pass is agreed. In case of doubt a giant sign marks the pass.

Only a new jersey by Rapha created to celebrate the legendary climbs of the Pyrenees appears to mention the wrong altitude.

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The Original Rapha

St Raphael jersey

Say “Rapha” and many cyclists will associate this with a London-based company producing semi-retro styled cycle clothing. But this start-up has appropriated a slice of history as it tries to evoke tales of epic rides and hardened riders for its brand. Here’s an explanation of where the name comes from.

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Rapha’s Roll of The Dice

Swiss director Marcel Ophüls produced “The Sorry and The Pity”, a two-part documentary in 1969. The film was banned for many years in France because it touched on the raw subject of French collaboration with the Nazis during the period of occupation in the Second World War. The film centres on Clermont-Ferrand, an industrial city … Read more

Rapha Fail encore?

When I wrote how Rapha got the French and Italian colours mixed up on their “Country Jersey”, it became the most popular item on here in March, thousands of people visited these pages, including, I think, some people from Rapha. Well now they have a new item in time for the Tour de France, the … Read more

Rapha – music inspired by the brand

Did you see Rapha’s CD of music for the Giro d’Italia? I’ve turned the tables around with my own suggestions for a Rapha CD, featuring artists such as Radiohead, Roxette and Serge Gainsbourg. Inspired by the London cycle clothing brand, with its mix of quality clothing, ersatz imagery and its massive appropriation of French and … Read more

Rapha Café: London and New York

London cycling brand Rapha has opened a café and shop in London. The design looks very modern, you can see some more images over at the Bianchista blog. It’s on the edge of the City, London’s wealthy financial district and one of the more creative areas of London. The symbolism is obvious, it’s close to … Read more